My oldest daughter had been asking for homemade chicken soup for a couple of weeks. So that’s how I found myself, on an 80-degree day, chopping two quarts of celery and carrots while chicken simmered in a large pot on the stove.
In the summer, we do lots of fun things. We have a bucket list filled with day trips, new parks, museum visits, and lots of ice cream. It’s a special time of year.
But I try to remind myself that this—this everyday, ordinary moment—is special, too. And as I do, I begin to notice my surroundings anew: the glint of the knife as I chop steadily; the way my oldest daughter peels the carrots into smooth, wavering lines while I start on the fruit salad. The tearful hug from my 4-year-old when she accidentally pours water on herself. The sticky footprints someone tracks across my clean kitchen floor. The pile of flip-flops accumulating by the door; the row of drinking glasses lining my counter.
Never mind that my hair is in a messy ponytail and my makeup has melted in the heat. Somebody’s sassy and two of the sisters squabble with each other. The mail is doing a slow glide across the countertop and the contents of our craft closet have exploded across the dining room table, stray marker caps and crayon wrappers tumbling to the floor. My kids need a bath—I probably do, too—and nothing about my life looks Instagram-worthy.
Yet I can’t help but think that this is real life and it’s beautiful. It’s messy and lovely, and no bucket list item will ever give me the contentment I seek if I can’t delight in this. If I can’t find joy inside my own home, if I can’t recognize the blessings that are literally walking through my hot kitchen, I’ll never find it in this world.
My friend Samara encapsulated this idea perfectly the other day. On her driveway, in rainbow colors of chalk, she wrote: “I GET to do this.” And she snapped a picture to remind herself of that truth.
I don’t want to miss it, friends. We get to do this—this one precious life, this one season where my children are small and clamor for my attention, this summer where we are all together—one time. I don’t want to strive and try so hard that I miss the everyday beauty in front of me. It’s messy but it’s mine, and I’m claiming the joy of it.
“Each day is God’s gift. It’s all you get in exchange
For the hard work of staying alive.
Make the most of each one!” (Ecclesiastes 9:9b)
What everyday moments can you find joy in today?